A Grad Katyusha missile exploded in an area south of Ashkelon Monday afternoon. The attack came after a day in which no rockets had been launched since midnight at southern Israel by Gaza terrorists.
The Color Red incoming rocket alert siren sounded moments prior to the explosion in both Ashkelon and the Sha'ar HaNegev region. No physical injuries or damage was reported in the wake of the attack.
Home Front Command Minister Matan Vilnai warned Monday the rocket and mortar fire aimed at Israel by Palestinian Authority terrorists from Gaza could delay implementation of the second phase of the prisoner exchange deal that freed 477 terrorists in return for the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit recently. Another 550 terrorists are still to be freed under the agreement.
Children in Ashkelon, Ashdod, Be'er Sheva and Gan Yavne missed a second day of school on Monday due to fears of precisely this kind of missile attack, following a barrage of missiles fired from Gaza over the weekend. At least one school in Be'er Sheva prepared ahead of time by developing an online message board to cope with the loss of learning hours.
Some 39 rockets and mortars exploded in various locations throughout southern Israel, killing a 56-year-old man and wounding 16 others, including a young girl and a baby. Another 14 people were hospitalized for trauma reactions and severe anxiety attacks as well.
By Sunday night, 11 Palestinian Authority terrorists were dead and seven others were wounded as the Israel Air Force flew sorties in retaliation, repeatedly pounding terrorist sites in Gaza.
The Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, which took responsibility for the attacks, agreed to a tentative ceasefire late Sunday night.
In Ashkelon, the municipality announced Monday that classes in the city's schools would resume on Tuesday. Officials said the decision had been made in accordance with instructions from the Home Front Command.